Article 43



Saturday, August 30, 2008

Obama The Savior

Did you hear Senator Obama’s acceptance SPEECH for the 2008 Presidential Democratic nomination the other night?

It’s just about everything I want to hear.  But I can also hear the words of my wise old mother; “Talk is cheap.”

Lets hope he backs up his words with real action if elected.


To Chairman Dean and my great friend Dick Durbin; and to all my fellow citizens of this great nation;

With profound gratitude and great humility, I accept your nomination for the presidency of the United States.

Let me express my thanks to the historic slate of candidates who accompanied me on this journey, and especially the one who traveled the farthest a champion for working Americans and an inspiration to my daughters and to yours—Hillary Rodham Clinton. To President Clinton, who last night made the case for change as only he can make it; to Ted Kennedy, who embodies the spirit of service; and to the next Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden, I thank you. I am grateful to finish this journey with one of the finest statesmen of our time, a man at ease with everyone from world leaders to the conductors on the Amtrak train he still takes home every night.

To the love of my life, our next First Lady, Michelle Obama, and to Sasha and Malia ֖ I love you so much, and I’m so proud of all of you.

Four years ago, I stood before you and told you my story of the brief union between a young man from Kenya and a young woman from Kansas who weren’t well-off or well-known, but shared a belief that in America, their son could achieve whatever he put his mind to.

It is that promise that has always set this country apart ֖ that through hard work and sacrifice, each of us can pursue our individual dreams but still come together as one American family, to ensure that the next generation can pursue their dreams as well.

That’s why I stand here tonight. Because for two hundred and thirty two years, at each moment when that promise was in jeopardy, ordinary men and women students and soldiers, farmers and teachers, nurses and janitors—found the courage to keep it alive.

We meet at one of those defining moments a moment when our nation is at war, our economy is in turmoil, and the American promise has been threatened once more.

Tonight, more Americans are out of work and more are working harder for less. More of you have lost your homes and even more are watching your home values plummet. More of you have cars you can’t afford to drive, credit card bills you can’t afford to pay, and tuition that’s beyond your reach.

These challenges are not all of government’s making. But the failure to respond is a direct result of a broken politics in Washington and the failed policies of George W. Bush.

America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this.

This country is more decent than one where a woman in Ohio, on the brink of retirement, finds herself one illness away from disaster after a lifetime of hard work.

This country is more generous than one where a man in Indiana has to pack up the equipment he’s worked on for twenty years and watch it shipped off to China, and then chokes up as he explains how he felt like a failure when he went home to tell his family the news.

We are more compassionate than a government that lets veterans sleep on our streets and families slide into poverty; that sits on its hands while a major American city drowns before our eyes.

Tonight, I say to the American people, to Democrats and Republicans and Independents across this great land enough! This moment ֖ this election is our chance to keep, in the 21st century, the American promise alive. Because next week, in Minnesota, the same party that brought you two terms of George Bush and Dick Cheney will ask this country for a third. And we are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look like the last eight. On November 4th, we must stand up and say: “Eight is enough.”

Now let there be no doubt. The Republican nominee, John McCain, has worn the uniform of our country with bravery and distinction, and for that we owe him our gratitude and respect. And next week, we’ll also hear about those occasions when he’s broken with his party as evidence that he can deliver the change that we need.

But the record’s clear: John McCain has voted with George Bush ninety percent of the time. Senator McCain likes to talk about judgment, but really, what does it say about your judgment when you think George Bush has been right more than ninety percent of the time? I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready to take a ten percent chance on change.

The truth is, on issue after issue that would make a difference in your lives ֖ on health care and education and the economy Senator McCain has been anything but independent. He said that our economy has made “great progress” under this President. He said that the fundamentals of the economy are strong. And when one of his chief advisors ֖ the man who wrote his economic plan was talking about the anxiety Americans are feeling, he said that we were just suffering from a “mental recession,” and that we’ve become, and I quote, “a nation of whiners.”

A nation of whiners? Tell that to the proud auto workers at a Michigan plant who, after they found out it was closing, kept showing up every day and working as hard as ever, because they knew there were people who counted on the brakes that they made. Tell that to the military families who shoulder their burdens silently as they watch their loved ones leave for their third or fourth or fifth tour of duty. These are not whiners. They work hard and give back and keep going without complaint. These are the Americans that I know.

Now, I don’t believe that Senator McCain doesn’t care what’s going on in the lives of Americans. I just think he doesn’t know. Why else would he define middle-class as someone making under five million dollars a year? How else could he propose hundreds of billions in tax breaks for big corporations and oil companies but not one penny of tax relief to more than one hundred million Americans? How else could he offer a health care plan that would actually tax people’s benefits, or an education plan that would do nothing to help families pay for college, or a plan that would privatize Social Security and gamble your retirement?

It’s not because John McCain doesn’t care. It’s because John McCain doesn’t get it.

For over two decades, he’s subscribed to that old, discredited Republican philosophy - give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else. In Washington, they call this the Ownership Society, but what it really means is you’re on your own. Out of work? Tough luck. No health care? The market will fix it. Born into poverty? Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps ֖ even if you don’t have boots. You’re on your own.

Well it’s time for them to own their failure. It’s time for us to change America.

You see, we Democrats have a very different measure of what constitutes progress in this country.

We measure progress by how many people can find a job that pays the mortgage; whether you can put a little extra money away at the end of each month so you can someday watch your child receive her college diploma. We measure progress in the 23 million new jobs that were created when Bill Clinton was President when the average American family saw its income go up $7,500 instead of down $2,000 like it has under George Bush.

We measure the strength of our economy not by the number of billionaires we have or the profits of the Fortune 500, but by whether someone with a good idea can take a risk and start a new business, or whether the waitress who lives on tips can take a day off to look after a sick kid without losing her job ֖ an economy that honors the dignity of work.

The fundamentals we use to measure economic strength are whether we are living up to that fundamental promise that has made this country great a promise that is the only reason I am standing here tonight.

Because in the faces of those young veterans who come back from Iraq and Afghanistan, I see my grandfather, who signed up after Pearl Harbor, marched in Patton’s Army, and was rewarded by a grateful nation with the chance to go to college on the GI Bill.

In the face of that young student who sleeps just three hours before working the night shift, I think about my mom, who raised my sister and me on her own while she worked and earned her degree; who once turned to food stamps but was still able to send us to the best schools in the country with the help of student loans and scholarships.

When I listen to another worker tell me that his factory has shut down, I remember all those men and women on the South Side of Chicago who I stood by and fought for two decades ago after the local steel plant closed.

And when I hear a woman talk about the difficulties of starting her own business, I think about my grandmother, who worked her way up from the secretarial pool to middle-management, despite years of being passed over for promotions because she was a woman. She’s the one who taught me about hard work. She’s the one who put off buying a new car or a new dress for herself so that I could have a better life. She poured everything she had into me. And although she can no longer travel, I know that she’s watching tonight, and that tonight is her night as well.

I don’t know what kind of lives John McCain thinks that celebrities lead, but this has been mine. These are my heroes. Theirs are the stories that shaped me. And it is on their behalf that I intend to win this election and keep our promise alive as President of the United States.

What is that promise?

It’s a promise that says each of us has the freedom to make of our own lives what we will, but that we also have the obligation to treat each other with dignity and respect.

It’s a promise that says the market should reward drive and innovation and generate growth, but that businesses should live up to their responsibilities to create American jobs, look out for American workers, and play by the rules of the road.

Ours is a promise that says government cannot solve all our problems, but what it should do is that which we cannot do for ourselves - protect us from harm and provide every child a decent education; keep our water clean and our toys safe; invest in new schools and new roads and new science and technology.

Our government should work for us, not against us. It should help us, not hurt us. It should ensure opportunity not just for those with the most money and influence, but for every American who’s willing to work.

That’s the promise of America the idea that we are responsible for ourselves, but that we also rise or fall as one nation; the fundamental belief that I am my brother’s keeper; I am my sister’s keeper.

That’s the promise we need to keep. That’s the change we need right now. So let me spell out exactly what that change would mean if I am President.

Change means a tax code that doesn’t reward the lobbyists who wrote it, but the American workers and small businesses who deserve it.

Unlike John McCain, I will stop giving tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, and I will start giving them to companies that create good jobs right here in America.

I will eliminate capital gains taxes for the small businesses and the start-ups that will create the high-wage, high-tech jobs of tomorrow.

I will cut taxes ֖ cut taxes for 95% of all working families. Because in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle-class.

And for the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, I will set a clear goal as President: in ten years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East.

Washington’s been talking about our oil addiction for the last thirty years, and John McCain has been there for twenty-six of them. In that time, he’s said no to higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars, no to investments in renewable energy, no to renewable fuels. And today, we import triple the amount of oil as the day that Senator McCain took office.

Now is the time to end this addiction, and to understand that drilling is a stop-gap measure, not a long-term solution. Not even close.

As President, I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power. I’ll help our auto companies re-tool, so that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here in America. I’ll make it easier for the American people to afford these new cars. And I’ll invest 150 billion dollars over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy - wind power and solar power and the next generation of biofuels; an investment that will lead to new industries and five million new jobs that pay well and can’t ever be outsourced.

America, now is not the time for small plans.

Now is the time to finally meet our moral obligation to provide every child a world-class education, because it will take nothing less to compete in the global economy. Michelle and I are only here tonight because we were given a chance at an education. And I will not settle for an America where some kids don’t have that chance. I’ll invest in early childhood education. I’ll recruit an army of new teachers, and pay them higher salaries and give them more support. And in exchange, I’ll ask for higher standards and more accountability. And we will keep our promise to every young American if you commit to serving your community or your country, we will make sure you can afford a college education.

Now is the time to finally keep the promise of affordable, accessible health care for every single American. If you have health care, my plan will lower your premiums. If you don’t, you’ll be able to get the same kind of coverage that members of Congress give themselves. And as someone who watched my mother argue with insurance companies while she lay in bed dying of cancer, I will make certain those companies stop discriminating against those who are sick and need care the most.

Now is the time to help families with paid sick days and better family leave, because nobody in America should have to choose between keeping their jobs and caring for a sick child or ailing parent.

Now is the time to change our bankruptcy laws, so that your pensions are protected ahead of CEO bonuses; and the time to protect Social Security for future generations.

And now is the time to keep the promise of equal pay for an equal day’s work, because I want my daughters to have exactly the same opportunities as your sons.

Now, many of these plans will cost money, which is why I’ve laid out how I’ll pay for every dime ֖ by closing corporate loopholes and tax havens that don’t help America grow. But I will also go through the federal budget, line by line, eliminating programs that no longer work and making the ones we do need work better and cost less because we cannot meet twenty-first century challenges with a twentieth century bureaucracy.

And Democrats, we must also admit that fulfilling America’s promise will require more than just money. It will require a renewed sense of responsibility from each of us to recover what John F. Kennedy called our “intellectual and moral strength.” Yes, government must lead on energy independence, but each of us must do our part to make our homes and businesses more efficient. Yes, we must provide more ladders to success for young men who fall into lives of crime and despair. But we must also admit that programs alone can’t replace parents; that government can’t turn off the television and make a child do her homework; that fathers must take more responsibility for providing the love and guidance their children need.

Individual responsibility and mutual responsibility ֖ that’s the essence of America’s promise.

And just as we keep our keep our promise to the next generation here at home, so must we keep America’s promise abroad. If John McCain wants to have a debate about who has the temperament, and judgment, to serve as the next Commander-in-Chief, that’s a debate I’m ready to have.

For while Senator McCain was turning his sights to Iraq just days after 9/11, I stood up and opposed this war, knowing that it would distract us from the real threats we face. When John McCain said we could just “muddle through” in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11, and made clear that we must take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights. John McCain likes to say that he’ll follow bin Laden to the Gates of Hell but he won’t even go to the cave where he lives.

And today, as my call for a time frame to remove our troops from Iraq has been echoed by the Iraqi government and even the Bush Administration, even after we learned that Iraq has a $79 billion surplus while we’re wallowing in deficits, John McCain stands alone in his stubborn refusal to end a misguided war.

That’s not the judgment we need. That won’t keep America safe. We need a President who can face the threats of the future, not keep grasping at the ideas of the past.

You don’t defeat a terrorist network that operates in eighty countries by occupying Iraq. You don’t protect Israel and deter Iran just by talking tough in Washington. You can’t truly stand up for Georgia when you’ve strained our oldest alliances. If John McCain wants to follow George Bush with more tough talk and bad strategy, that is his choice ֖ but it is not the change we need.

We are the party of Roosevelt. We are the party of Kennedy. So don’t tell me that Democrats won’t defend this country. Don’t tell me that Democrats won’t keep us safe. The Bush-McCain foreign policy has squandered the legacy that generations of Americans—Democrats and Republicans have built, and we are here to restore that legacy.

As Commander-in-Chief, I will never hesitate to defend this nation, but I will only send our troops into harm’s way with a clear mission and a sacred commitment to give them the equipment they need in battle and the care and benefits they deserve when they come home.

I will end this war in Iraq responsibly, and finish the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts. But I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression. I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation; poverty and genocide; climate change and disease. And I will restore our moral standing, so that America is once again that last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace, and who yearn for a better future.

These are the policies I will pursue. And in the weeks ahead, I look forward to debating them with John McCain.

But what I will not do is suggest that the Senator takes his positions for political purposes. Because one of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other’s character and patriotism.

The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook. So let us agree that patriotism has no party. I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain. The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and Independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red America or a Blue America ֖ they have served the United States of America.

So I’ve got news for you, John McCain. We all put our country first.

America, our work will not be easy. The challenges we face require tough choices, and Democrats as well as Republicans will need to cast off the worn-out ideas and politics of the past. For part of what has been lost these past eight years can’t just be measured by lost wages or bigger trade deficits. What has also been lost is our sense of common purpose our sense of higher purpose. And that’s what we have to restore.

We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country. The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than for those plagued by gang-violence in Cleveland, but don’t tell me we can’t uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals. I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in the hospital and to live lives free of discrimination. Passions fly on immigration, but I don’t know anyone who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child or an employer undercuts American wages by hiring illegal workers. This too is part of America’s promise ֖ the promise of a democracy where we can find the strength and grace to bridge divides and unite in common effort.

I know there are those who dismiss such beliefs as happy talk. They claim that our insistence on something larger, something firmer and more honest in our public life is just a Trojan Horse for higher taxes and the abandonment of traditional values. And that’s to be expected. Because if you don’t have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare the voters. If you don’t have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from.

You make a big election about small things.

And you know what it’s worked before. Because it feeds into the cynicism we all have about government. When Washington doesn’t work, all its promises seem empty. If your hopes have been dashed again and again, then it’s best to stop hoping, and settle for what you already know.

I get it. I realize that I am not the likeliest candidate for this office. I don’t fit the typical pedigree, and I haven’t spent my career in the halls of Washington.

But I stand before you tonight because all across America something is stirring. What the nay-sayers don’t understand is that this election has never been about me. It’s been about you.

For eighteen long months, you have stood up, one by one, and said enough to the politics of the past. You understand that in this election, the greatest risk we can take is to try the same old politics with the same old players and expect a different result. You have shown what history teaches us ֖ that at defining moments like this one, the change we need doesn’t come from Washington. Change comes to Washington. Change happens because the American people demand it because they rise up and insist on new ideas and new leadership, a new politics for a new time.

America, this is one of those moments.

I believe that as hard as it will be, the change we need is coming. Because I’ve seen it. Because I’ve lived it. I’ve seen it in Illinois, when we provided health care to more children and moved more families from welfare to work. I’ve seen it in Washington, when we worked across party lines to open up government and hold lobbyists more accountable, to give better care for our veterans and keep nuclear weapons out of terrorist hands.

And I’ve seen it in this campaign. In the young people who voted for the first time, and in those who got involved again after a very long time. In the Republicans who never thought they’d pick up a Democratic ballot, but did. I’ve seen it in the workers who would rather cut their hours back a day than see their friends lose their jobs, in the soldiers who re-enlist after losing a limb, in the good neighbors who take a stranger in when a hurricane strikes and the floodwaters rise.

This country of ours has more wealth than any nation, but that’s not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military on Earth, but that’s not what makes us strong. Our universities and our culture are the envy of the world, but that’s not what keeps the world coming to our shores.

Instead, it is that American spirit ֖ that American promise that pushes us forward even when the path is uncertain; that binds us together in spite of our differences; that makes us fix our eye not on what is seen, but what is unseen, that better place around the bend.

That promise is our greatest inheritance. It’s a promise I make to my daughters when I tuck them in at night, and a promise that you make to yours ֖ a promise that has led immigrants to cross oceans and pioneers to travel west; a promise that led workers to picket lines, and women to reach for the ballot.

And it is that promise that forty five years ago today, brought Americans from every corner of this land to stand together on a Mall in Washington, before Lincoln’s Memorial, and hear a young preacher from Georgia speak of his dream.

The men and women who gathered there could’ve heard many things. They could’ve heard words of anger and discord. They could’ve been told to succumb to the fear and frustration of so many dreams deferred.

But what the people heard instead people of every creed and color, from every walk of life ֖ is that in America, our destiny is inextricably linked. That together, our dreams can be one.

“We cannot walk alone,” the preacher cried. “And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back.”

America, we cannot turn back. Not with so much work to be done. Not with so many children to educate, and so many veterans to care for. Not with an economy to fix and cities to rebuild and farms to save. Not with so many families to protect and so many lives to mend. America, we cannot turn back. We cannot walk alone. At this moment, in this election, we must pledge once more to march into the future. Let us keep that promise that American promise ֖ and in the words of Scripture hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess.

Thank you, God Bless you, and and God Bless the United States of America.

Posted by Elvis on 08/30/08 •
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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Alcatel-Lucent’s Russo Quits


[CEO Pat] Russo has taken a tough path to success. Unlike peers in the tech industry who prod development of new products in big growth areas, Russo’s track record has largely been built on slashing products and JOBS, first at Lucent and now at Alcatel Lucent.
- Lucent CEO On The Ropes - The Street 9/28/07

Generally when you see the big shots from a company start leaving, it often means one thing - DEATH of the company is near.

Today, the two biggest shots of ALCATEL-LUCENT said they’re leaving.

For something to live, sometimes another must die.

Lets hope for a rebirth of the famous BELL LABS, UNIX, etc.


But first, departing CEO Russo will get severance of 2X her annual pay - something like $10 million dollars - for ruining the company.  I wonder what the rest of her Golden Parachute will be.


To pave the way for a fully aligned governance and management model going forward, the company announced the following changes to its management team and Board of Directors: 

· Non-Executive Chairman Serge Tchuruk has decided to step down on October 1, 2008.

· CEO PAT RUSSO has decided to step down no later than the end of the year, and at the Boards request will continue to run the company until a new CEO is in place to effect a smooth transition and maintain the continuity of the company’s business.

· The Board will commence a search for a new non-executive Chairman and CEO immediately.

· The Board is also initiating a process to change the composition of the Board to a smaller group that will include new members.


Alcatel-Lucent’s Russo, Tchuruk to Quit; Loss Widens

By Rudy Ruitenberg
July 29, 2008

Alcatel-Lucent SA, the world’s largest supplier of fixed-line phone networks, said Chief Executive Officer Patricia Russo and Chairman Serge Tchuruk quit after the sixth straight quarterly loss.

Alcatel-Lucent rallied as much as 6 percent in Paris trading after the announcement. The net loss widened to 1.1 billion euros ($1.7 billion), or 49 cents a share, from 586 million euros, or 26 cents, a year earlier, the Paris-based company said in a statement today.

Russo and Tchuruk were the architects of Alcatel SA’s November 2006 purchase of Lucent Technologies Inc., creating a company that has never earned a profit, shed 62 percent of its market value and is eliminating 16,500 jobs. Russo, 56, hasn’t said when she expects the losses to end. She will step down by the end of the year, while Tchuruk, 70, will leave Oct 1.

“We’ve waited for these departures for a long time,” said Frederic Hamm, who helps manage 150 million euros at Agilis Gestion in Paris and doesn’t own Alcatel-Lucent shares. “Every earnings report there was a new profit warning.’”

Analysts predicted a net loss of 135 million euros, the median of eight estimates compiled by Bloomberg News. The second- quarter loss included a writedown of 810 million euros for the unit that supplies networks based on code division multiple access, or CDMA, a wireless technology used by Verizon Communications Inc. and China Unicom Ltd.


Alcatel-Lucent shares rose 15 cents, or 3.8 percent, to 3.98 euros as of 11:53 a.m. in Paris. Before today, the stock had fallen 23 percent this year, while Stockholm-based rival Ericsson AB lost 14 percent. About 14.5 billion euros of Alcatel-Lucent’s market value had been wiped out since the merger.

“In the past quarters, Alcatel-Lucent has disappointed, missed forecasts and underperformed,’” said Emanuele Vizzini, who helps manage about $1.2 billion at Investitori Sgr in Milan, including Alcatel-Lucent shares. “At this point, the resignations were inevitable. It’s a disaster. Now someone must rescue what’s left.”

The decision to leave was made by Russo and Tchuruk, spokeswoman Regine Coqueran said. Russo will be entitled to severance pay of twice her annual salary, or as much as SIX MILLION EUROS (1.00 Euro = 1.56 US Dollars) based on this year’s base pay of 1.2 million euros and maximum bonus of 1.8 million euros.

CDMA Business

The CDMA business declined at a faster pace than anticipated in the quarter, Alcatel-Lucent said. CDMA sales are falling as operators invest in networks that use the global system for mobile communications, or GSM, or a newer technology called W- CDMA to provide third-generation mobile services.

Lucent was the market leader in CDMA when acquired by Alcatel. The combined company also had a fourth-quarter writedown of 2.52 billion euros last year, most of it to reduce the value of the CDMA business in the books.

Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson, the world’s biggest maker of wireless equipment, have both said the market for networks will stagnate this year.

“Alcatel’s problems don’t depend uniquely on Russo and Tchuruk,” said Matthieu Bordeaux-Groult, an analyst at Paris- based Richelieu Finance, which oversees $6.2 billion. “There’s little visibility and a delicate merger to put into place. Russo and Tchuruk kept promising more for the future and then it never happened.’”

Revenue dropped 5.2 percent to 4.1 billion euros, in line with analyst estimates.

Sales Forecast

Today, Alcatel-Lucent reiterated its April forecast that 2008 sales will fall 2 percent to 5 percent because of the dollar’s drop against the euro and possible spending delays by some clients. The dollar slipped 14 percent against the euro in the year to June 30.

On July 22, Ericsson said second-quarter profit fell 70 percent. The company reiterated that demand for networks will remain “flattish” this year. Ericsson is slashing 4,000 jobs.

Alcatel-Lucent cut 6,700 jobs last year, reducing the number of employees to 77,400 at the end of December. The company raised its job-cut target in October in response to falling sales. Cash costs for restructuring will be 1.7 billion euros to 1.9 billion euros through the end of 2009, the company has said.

Last year’s second-quarter loss included 250 million euros to amortize the Lucent purchase and a 298 million-euro writedown of the unit that provided wireless networks based on the third- generation W-CDMA technology.

Dollar’s Impact

Alcatel-Lucent revised its 2008 sales outlook in April to a decline from an increase, and Russo said the ``big-deal issue’’ is the dollar, with the company getting more than half of its sales in dollars or related currencies.

Excluding accounting changes from the merger, the company reported an adjusted net loss of 222 million euros, compared with a shortfall of 336 million euros a year earlier. The loss on that basis had been seen at 5 million euros, based on the median estimate of 11 analyst estimates.

The company reported a second-quarter adjusted operating profit of 93 million euros, beating the 70 million-euro median estimate of 14 analysts.

Alcatel-Lucent said it will begin looking for replacements for Russo and Tchuruk immediately. Henry Schacht, Russo’s predecessor as Lucent CEO, will step down from the board.

“This is the news investors would like to see because the merger with Lucent and the problems at the start showed that they were not the right kind of people for this type of business,’’ said Robert Gallecker, an analyst at BayernLB in Munich. Investors had been saying for six months that “there should be a change in the management,’’ he said.

Paris-based Alcatel and Murray Hill, New Jersey-based Lucent, unable to revive sales or their share prices after the technology bubble burst in 2000, combined in 2006 to fight competition from China’s Huawei Technologies Co. and Sweden’s Ericsson.

“It is now time that the company acquires a personality of its own, independent from its two predecessors,” Tchuruk, the former Alcatel chief executive, said in a statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rudy Ruitenberg in Paris at rruitenberg at


Why did it take so long?
Alcatel-Lucent bosses are finished

Dial Zero
July 29, 2008

The chairman and chief executive officer of MONEY-LOSING French-American telecom giant Alcatel-Lucent will both resign later this year, the company said Tuesday, as stagnant demand and the weak dollar foiled the promises of its two-year-old merger. Chairman Serge Tchuruk and CEO Pat Russo’s departures come as the world’s largest telecom gear maker reported its sixth consecutive quarter of losses. The company reported a net loss of $1.73 billion for the second quarter.

Alcatel-Lucent said Tchuruk will step down Oct. 1, and Russo will resign “no later than the end of the year.”

The company, which was formed through the 2006 MERGER of France’s Alcatel and US-based Lucent, is in the middle of a painful restructuring that foresees 16,500 job cuts.

In its statement, the company quoted Tchuruk, Alcatel’s longtime chairman and CEO before the merger saw him take on the non-executive chairman role, as saying the resignations were aimed at giving Alcatel-Lucent “a personality of its own, independent from its two predecessors.” Russo was quoted as saying that although she was “pleased” with the company’s progress, “the company will benefit from new leadership ... to bring a fresh and independent perspective.”

When conceived, the Alcatel-Lucent merger was designed to boost margins through cost and R&D savings, while improving the joint company’s pricing power with telecom operators, its largest customers. But intense competition in the industry means many of the savings have been used on discounts passed on to customers. Alcatel-Lucent’s stock price has fallen by over three-fifths since the merger, and the company has yet to post a profit.

RUSSO SURVIVED calls for her resignation at Alcatel-Lucent’s annual shareholder meeting in May, where she was barraged with jeers and whistles by investors furious over the company’s performance. Russo was criticized by shareholders not only for the shares’ slide, but also for her demeanor, her inability to speak French and, above all, her salary. In 2007, she was paid nearly $3 million.

In Tuesday’s statement, the company confirmed its outlook for the rest of the year, which forecasts an adjusted operating margin in the low- to mid-single digit range and an adjusted gross margin in the mid-thirties. It also said it continues to expect revenue to decline in the low- to mid-single digit range. Alcatel-Lucent makes about half of its sales in US dollar or dollar-linked currencies and has suffered from the US currency’s weakness to the euro.

In the second quarter Alcatel-Lucent reported revenue of $6.5 billion, down 5.2 percent from $6.8 billion a year earlier. Excluding the foreign exchange impact, sales were up 1.7 percent. Sales will stagnate or decline slightly in the third quarter, the company added.

The company warned that a spending slowdown by telecom carriers which began in the US could move to European operators but that this is being offset by stronger-than-expected demand for mobile telecom gear in Asia and strong demand for services like network operation and integration. Overall, the company still expects the telecom equipment and service market to be flat this year.



Chairman Tchuruk, CEO Russo To Step Down From Alcatel-Lucent
By Leila Abboud and Jethro Mullen
Wall Street Journal Online
July 29, 2008

The architects of the trans-Atlantic merger that created Alcatel-Lucent two years ago are stepping aside, leaving a telecommunications-equipment firm still struggling to figure out how to survive in an industry plagued by increasingly brutal competition and eroding profits.

Chief Executive Patricia Russo will leave the company by year-end as she helps look for a successor, Alcatel-Lucent said in a statement Tuesday after reporting a net loss for the quarter ended June 30 of 1.1 billion ($1.73 billion) compared to a net loss of �586 million a year earlier. Chairman Serge Tchuruk will step down on Oct.1.

“Our strategy is taking hold, and our results are demonstrating good operational progress. That said, I believe it is the right time for me to step down,” Ms. Russo said in the statement.

The exits of Ms. Russo and Mr. Tchuruk will bring to a close a painful first act for the telecom-equipment giant, which was created in 2006 by merging the Paris-based Alcatel SA and the Murray Hill, N.J.-based Lucent Technologies.

Since the merger, Alcatel-Lucent has reported six consecutive quarters of losses, and its market capitalization has been cut in half.

Investors and analysts have been urging the company to remove Ms. Russo for more than a year, and news of her and Mr. Tchuruk’s departure buoyed the company’s stock, which is traded on the Paris exchange. Alcatel-Lucent shares rose 2.4% to 3.92 in midday trading.

Yet some expressed concern that no successor had yet been found, and doubted whether the change in leadership meant that Alcatel-Lucent’s fortunes would improve.

“I don’t think it should be seen as good news,” said WestLB analyst Thomas Langer. “What you need in such difficult times is true leadership.” Mr. Langer, who has a “sell” rating on Alcatel-Lucent stock, said no potential replacements spring immediately to mind.

When the merger was announced two years ago, Ms. Russo and Mr. Tchuruk had touted the link-up as a way to gain scale and cut costs in order to better compete with new low-cost manufacturers emerging especially from Asia.

Another factor that had pushed the two companies to merge: telecom operators such as Verizon CommunicationsInc. and Spain’s TelefonicaSA were also consolidating, so gear makers had to follow suit to try to maintain negotiating power with their customers.

But right away, Ms. Russo found herself struggling to integrate the two firms. The expected cost cuts, especially in research and development, were much more difficult to wring out than expected.

To make matters worse, Alcatel-Lucent competitors such as Telefon AB L.M. Ericssonwent on the attack, trying to steal customers while the Franco-American firm was distracted.

Alcatel-Lucent was forced to cut prices and even take some losing contracts last year to keep a foothold in important emerging markets like China and India. The company issued repeated revenue and profit warnings, losing the confidence of some analysts and shareholders.

Pressure on Ms. Russo increased last fall, when the French press was awash with reports that the board was growing concerned about the firm’s woes. Ms. Russo weathered the storm, getting the board to approve a new turnaround plan that included a new streamlined management team.

Since then, however, the company’s performance has continued to founder. Alcatel-Lucent’s �1.1 billion quarterly loss announced on Tuesday was partly the result of a 810 million goodwill write-down related to one of the company’s wireless divisions. Revenue declined 5.2% to �4.1 billion, hurt by the dollar’s weakness in relation to the euro.

The picture doesn’t look much brighter for the rest of the year, as economic woes make telecom operators reluctant to spend to upgrade their networks.

The company maintained its 2008 outlook of a 2% to 5% decline in revenue, an adjusted operating margin in the mid single-digit range and an adjusted gross operating margin “in the mid-thirties.” Alcatel-Lucent still expects the overall telecom equipment and services market to remain flat in 2008.

In its statement, the company also said it would overhaul its board to bring in fresh blood and reduce its size. One director, Henry Schacht, who preceded Ms. Russo as CEO at the former Lucent, will resign from the board immediately, the company said.


Posted by Elvis on 07/29/08 •
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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Minimun Wage Goes Up 70 Cents Today

Compliance Assistance - Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)


The FLSA establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and youth employment standards affecting employees in the private sector and in Federal, State, and local governments. Covered nonexempt workers are entitled to a minimum wage of not less than $5.85 per hour effective July 24, 2007; $6.55 per hour effective July 24, 2008; and $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009. Overtime pay at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate of pay is required after 40 hours of work in a workweek.



Minimum Wage Soars To $6.55, Working Poor Still Too Impoverished To Celebrate

Great news, minimum wage workers: if you spend the next year working without getting sick or, um, going on vacation, you’ll make $13,624! Uncle Sam’s $0.70 minimum wage hike is the second of three to take effect before next summer, but the meager raise is hardly a godsend for the working poor.

Last week, the Labor Department reported the fastest inflation since 1991 5 percent for June compared with a year earlier. Energy costs soared nearly 25 percent. The price of food rose more than 5 percent.

So the minimum wage hike is “a drop in the bucket compared to the increases in costs, declining labor market, and declining household wealth that consumers have experienced in the past year,” Lehman Brothers economist Zach Pandl said.

The new minimum is less than the inflation-adjusted 1997 level of $7.02, and far below the inflation-adjusted level of $10.06 from 40 years ago, according to a Labor Department inflation calculator.

25 STATES require employers to pay more than the national minimum wage, but 1.7 million Americans still rely on the federal government to set a wage floor. Only 20 percent of them are teenagers.

The nation’s top financial minds can’t tell us how the minimum wage effects the economy, but we’re sure our beloved cadre of ever-cheerful commenters not only knows for certain, but is willing to share.


Posted by Elvis on 07/24/08 •
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Friday, April 04, 2008

2008 H1-B Frenzy


H1B Visa Applications Flood USINS

April 3, 2008

The US CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES (USCIS) was flooded with H1-B visa applications Tuesday, the very first day it started accepting them. At stake were 66,000 highly sought after foreign worker visas, used for bringing a new wave of immigrant workers INTO THE COUNTRY, about half of who work in Information Technology.

In 2007, 124,000 total H1B visa applications were received by USCIS, far exceeding the supply. To better handle the anticipated rush, the department hired extra hands to process applications, as immigration attorneys scrambled to send them in on the first day itself. Courier and postal companies sent “vans loads” of applications to California and Vermont centers, according to a news report.

According to the National Journal’s Congress Daily AM, Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin and House Judiciary ranking member Lamar Smith both are considering limiting the H1B visa use to U.S. companies. “Eight of the top 10 companies seeking H-1B visas in the last round were FOREIGN COMPANIES,” Durbin said Tuesday. “The foreign companies, by and large, have taken control of the H-1B process. For example, the largest Indian companies are getting thousands of H-1B visas. They then, for a fee, will place engineers from India in American jobs for three years or six years and then, for another fee, place them back in India to compete with American companies. Trust me, that is not what we have in mind with H-1B visas.”

In addition Sen. Grassley (R-IA) wrote a letter to Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reed regarding the abuses in the H-1B visa program and recent testimony heard in the senate (see letter).

Employers still continue to proclaim a labor shortage while Federal Reserve chairman, Ben S. Bernanke says that the American economy could grow smaller in 2008, hinting that we would be- if we weren’t already- in a recession. Further more, Money magazine reports that economists surveyed by are forecasting a loss of 50,000 jobs from the nation’s payrolls in April. If correct, that would mark the third straight month of job declines in the country, making the unemployment rate jump to 5.0% from 4.8% in February.


Posted by Elvis on 04/04/08 •
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Saturday, February 09, 2008

Another Nail In Alcatel-Lucent’s Coffin

Alcatel-Lucent Reports Loss, Scraps Dividend

The telecom equipment maker posts fourth-quarter loss, expects first-quarter loss and rocky 2008.
CNN Money
February 8, 2008

Franco-American telecommunications equipment maker Alcatel-Lucent on Friday POSTED a loss of about $3.8 billion for the fourth quarter, said it would scrap its 2007 dividend and predicted a rocky 2008.

Alcatel-Lucent reported a net loss of 2.58 billion in the quarter ending Dec. 31, as it booked L2.52 billion ($3.71 billion) in write-downs related to the reduced value of assets inherited from Lucent Technologies Inc.

Excluding the non-cash write-downs, Alcatel-Lucent posted an adjusted fourth-quarter loss of 48 million ($69.9 million) compared with a loss of L618 million a year earlier.

Revenues for the quarter rose to L5.23 billion ($7.61 billion), up 18% from 4.42 billion in the same period in 2006, the company said in a statement. That was above the 4.92 billion forecast by analysts.

The fourth quarter normally sees strong revenues for telecommunications equipment makers. But the fourth quarter of 2006, during which Alcatel SA of Paris completed its combination with Lucent Technologies Inc. of Murray Hill, N.J., saw the newly minted company post disappointing revenue.

Prospects for Alcatel-Lucent and the whole sector look somber.

Alcatel-Lucent said it would suspend its 2007 dividend because of the uncertain outlook for 2008. The company said it expects a first-quarter loss in 2008 because of a seasonal drop in revenue of 20% to 25%.

Alcatel-Lucent said it forecasts the global communications equipment and related services market in 2008 to be “flat to slightly up” at a constant euro-dollar exchange rate and “slightly down” at the current rate.

“While the long term prospects of our industry remain good, the macroeconomic environment has created UNCERTAINTY in our markets in the last few months,” Chief Executive Patricia Russo said in a statement.

Alcatel-Lucent’s share price has plunged about 60% over the previous 12 months on the back of a string of profit warnings and concern over the GROWTH PROSPECTS for the telecommunications equipment market in 2008.

Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) shares were flat at L4.13 ($6.02) by midafternoon.

Rivals Telefon AB LM Ericsson and Nokia SIEMENS Networks, the joint venture between Nokia Corp. (NOK) and Siemens AG (SI), have already given downbeat forecasts for the market in 2008.

Alcatel-Lucent reported a net loss of 3.52 billion ($5.12 billion) for all of 2007. The loss stemmed primarily from the goodwill write-down.


Posted by Elvis on 02/09/08 •
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